National News Brief, Tuesday November 4

Key "rattled", says Clark; Labour tries to poach NZ First voters; Hide's yellow jacket may break electoral rules; two All Blacks endorse National; tacky Hell Pizza ad pulled; $50,000 grants for artists; and more

Prime Minister Helen Clark said she had National leader John Key "rattled" at last night's TV3 leaders debate. According to the Press she told reporters, "I think that what the National Party know is that they are nowhere near the commanding win they thought they were going to get. They know that Labour plus Green plus possible relationships are very competitive and I thought we saw Mr Key rather rattled tonight." The Press political editor Colin Espiner described it as "a scrappy but ultimately even contest between the two leaders".

Helen Clark has made a bid for New Zealand First votes by admitting it is unlikely the party, or its leader Winston Peters, will make it back into parliament. NZ First has "consistently polled below 4 per cent in this campaign, as its leader and the party face a series of damaging allegations," says the Dominion Post.

Act leader Rodney Hide's lemon-yellow campaign jacket may break rules set down by the Electoral Commission. Mr Hide received a letter from the commission yesterday saying the jacket might count as an election advertisement and as such should bear the authorisation of the party's financial agent, reports the Herald. Mr Hide said he would "ignore this for as long as possible".

National has picked up the endorsement of former All Blacks Michael Jones and Va'aiga Tuigamala as it makes a play for South Auckland voters, traditionally reliable Labour voters. Michael Jones said Labour's support for civil unions, prostitution law reform and the child-discipline bill had angered Pacific people and their support for Labour was waning.

A controversial Hell Pizza ad depicting Sir Edmund Hillary dancing on his grave flanked by Heath Ledger and the Queen Mother has been pulled. The internet ad was created by Colenso BBDO and emailed to customers in the run-up to Halloween, reports the Dominion Post. Sir Ed's son, Peter, said he had not received an apology from the company but said that, even if he did, it would not undo the impact. "It's a bit like someone who does something really nasty and then quickly apologises for it."

The directors of Dunedin City Council companies have given themselves a 12.4 percent pay increase despite the objections of councillors who advised restraint in tough economic times, reports the Otago Daily Times.

Five artists have each received $50,000 at the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Awards in Wellington. They are visual artist Shane Cotton, costume designer Ngila Dickson, actor George Henare, writer Lloyd Jones and baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes.